It is unclear how much, if at all, the Cleveland Browns seriously considered the possibility of trading wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. It certainly appears from the outside that they now very much regret not doing so, however. In fact, reports surfacing last night indicate that they plan to release the veteran. Today.
While Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk exercised an abundance of caution in his report and emphasized that this is the Browns’ plan and that plans can change, he reported last night that that, as we sit here now, their intention is to release him, with the holdup being their hope to get him to agree to lower the remaining salary that they owe him.
Beckham holds a base salary of $14.5 million for the 2021 season, but $12.79 of that base salary became fully guaranteed back in March. At the same time, Beckham wants to ensure that his contract is not enticing enough that he is claimed off waivers, so that he can be a free agent.
Driven evidently by his father’s social media behavior, who accused the Browns and quarterback Baker Mayfield of deliberately misusing him, the situation between the former All-Pro and the team has quickly taken a turn for the worse. He has been excused from the facility for the past two days, despite evidently being willing to report. Head coach Kevin Stefanski did not deny a report that he informed his players on Wednesday that Beckham was effectively not a part of the team at that point. The conversation now turns to termination pay.
Cleveland was widely lauded in 2019 when they made the bold move to trade for Beckham, sending the New York Giants first- and third-round draft picks, as well as 2017 first-round safety Jabrill Peppers, in order to acquire him.
Suffice it to say that the production on the field has not lived up to what the team had envisioned when they made that move, and the rapport between Beckham and Mayfield has never been there; in fact, by the numbers, they have had among the worst connections in the entire league.
Beckham was a superstar in his first few seasons, before injuries began to limit his opportunities. At one point, he held the NFL record for the most receiving yards per game in history. These last few years have not been kind to that mark.
He was targeted just one time in Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, catching the pass for a six-yard gain. His good friend, Jarvis Landry, was targeted 10 times, dropping a couple of passes and being responsible for a critical fourth-quarter fumble.
Not, perhaps, as significant as the fumble of a trade this has proven to be, however.